Lai returns to form ahead of National Games

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 September, 2009, 12:00am

Sprinter Lai Chun-ho made a timely return to form yesterday as he claimed the 100 metres title in the fourth round of the Hong Kong League at Siu Sai Wan Sports Ground.

His time of 10.58 seconds was 0.2 seconds off his personal best, but it was Lai's first major victory since he captured the Asian junior title in Jakarta in June last year.

'It has been a long time since I last won a race,' said the delighted 20-year-old, who was one of the two Hong Kong track representatives at the Beijing Olympics. 'I am very happy to win today and get a taste of victory, which is important at this stage as we are preparing for next month's National Games.'

Lai said the victory would boost his confidence as he prepared for both the 100 metres and the 4x100 metres relay at the National Games.

'I could have run quicker, but the conditions were very difficult today. We ran in the heat and had a head wind. I know I can do better and will work step by step to reach my peak again approaching the National Games,' he said.

Lai admitted a series of poor performances after his Asian junior triumph had made him question his ability. 'Over the past few months, I was nowhere near my best. But I am happy to have pulled out of my slump and hope this means a fresh start,' said Lai.

The sprinter also led the Hong Kong team to victory in the 4x100 metres relay, with the quartet of Yip Siu-Keung, Tsui Chi-ho, Wong Ka-chun and Lai finishing in 40.78 seconds.

The Hong Kong men's relay team won a silver medal at the 2001 National Games in Guangzhou and Tsui, who has a personal best of 10.39 seconds, said they had the chance to repeat the success at the Shandong Games next month.

Tsui, however, had a disappointing 100m yesterday, failing to reach the final. 'It was not a good race,' he said. 'But our target is the relay and the result wasn't too bad today,' he said.